Monday, 24 November 2014

Dinosaurs in Singapore. Sungei Buloh



Covering 130 hectares in the North West of Singapore, the wetland reserve of Sungei Buloh is a magical haven for wildlife and a place so removed from the norm of the modern, urban, concrete metropolis I've become used to and indeed love.

Originally just 87 hectares it was designated a nature park back in 1989, after much consultation with the UK's Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, maybe due to this, it feels similar to Slimbridge, just up from where I lived in the UK.  However in 2002 a larger area was added and it was renamed Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and is now an important area for conservation and the stop off point for many thousands of migratory birds, some travelling as far as Siberia and Australia.


If you visit at present, 2 walk areas are closed for reconstruction leaving just the Mangrove Boardwalk (500m) and he larger Route 1 (5km) accessible, Routes 2 and 3 are closed. However come 6 Dec 2014 (now under 2 weeks away) a new extension will open to celebrate the Reserves official 21st birthday. New in the extension will be a Coastal Boardwalk and a Canopy walk with 6 regular guided walks available. I for one will certainly be back to explore further!


I have now visited twice, the first time we were literally tripping over Monitor Lizards and saw the largest ones that we've seen in Singapore, true dinosaurs. So laid back and lazy, sunning themselves in the heat and really in no hurry to move away from us, we were truly a hindrance to them. On our second visit yes we saw many but nothing on the scale of our first trip. I guess we were just very lucky. I make no apologises there are a lot of Monitor Lizard photos in the post!!





More amazingly on our first time we actually saw 3 crocodiles! Apart from zoos I had never seen a wild one before and was so excited. We saw 2 small ones swimming and flicking their tales close to the waters edge, but also a large one, sitting just under the water in the shallows. Apparently, according to some photographers we spoke to and a guide, low tide is the best time to spot both crocodiles and otters as the water is low and its easier for them to catch fish then. Also a guide told us you can usually spot a very large crocodile in the river as you cross over the first bridge when leaving the visitors centre to enter into the reserve. These photographers showed us some stunning professional photos they had taken of the crocodiles and otters. Magnificent photos, what I would give to be able to take shots like those they showed us.

look carefully and you can see Mr Croc watching us
The view from the fruit bridge, where crocodiles are regularly spotted.
The Reserve is awash to with flora and fauna, freshwater and seawater inhabits, mangrove dwellers and much more. You will most definitely see crabs and mud skippers, varying in size enormously. The rivers and lakes are full of fish and you will see them jumping out of the water. Just two of the fish that can be found there are milk fish and salmon. Salmon being a popular food treat for the smooth coated otters and their families. Sadly neither visits have we seen these, apart from the photos shown by our photographers friends, along with sea eagles they were "shooting" that day.

large Mud Skipper
crabs
Huge ant I nearly rested my arm on to take a photo!

As you walk around you will come across various hides, that give you a change to see the migratory birds, as well as the residents from a hidden views. Sorry I'm not up on my birds so I can't tell you what we were looking at apart from various herons, bitterns, kingfishers, water hens and lots of wading birds.




Water Hen
Theres also a tower that you can climb to get a clear view of how large the wetland area is.



You will also see spiders, changeable lizards, caterpillars, ants and many moths and butterflies, apparently water snakes, we did see a quick glimpse of a Paradise Tree snake. OHHH and not forgetting mosquito's! On our first visit their were very few the second time even though we were well covered up and sprayed copiously we were bitten to death!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!! :)

Paradise Tree Snake
A laid back relaxed Changeable lizard


I'd certainly recommend this place, not only if you are interested in birds and wildlife, but just a quiet haven away from the hustle of city life. To get there you can catch bus 925 from Kranji MRT Mon - Sat this will drop you at Kanji Reservoir Park which means a walk of approx 1 mile along the road to the entrance, passing the Crocodile Farm, although you can also walk through Kranji Nature Trail as well, a walk of just 2 km https://www.sbwr.org.sg/downloads/KNTbrochure.pdf. On Sundays and Public Holidays the 925 will take you to the entrance to the Reserve. Alternatively for $3 each way you can catch the Kranji Express, a mini bus that also leaves from Kranji MRT (make sure you check its timetable).  I did like the comment of the photographer we met, he said he always travelled by BMW - no he doesn't have a car, he travels by B (bus) M (MRT) W (walk) I will try and remember this :)




Sungei Buloh
301 Neo Tiew Crescent
Singapore 718925
Mondays - Saturdays 07:30 - 19:00
Sundays and Public Holidays 07:00-19:00
https://www.sbwr.org.sg


Male Praying Mantis

Grasshopper
Cicada

Map of the Reserve can be found here.  http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/docs/Sungei_Buloh_Wetland_Reserve_eGuide_LRes.pdf

Kranji Express Timetable
http://www.kranjicountryside.com/kranji_express_schedule.html






Look carefully and you will see there are 2 monitors here having a romantic moment. I think we will leave them to their privacy!